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There is weird morning baseball today

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The third Monday in April is Patriots’ Day, an official holiday in Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin, and nodded at unofficially in several other states. Schools and banks and stuff are closed in the places that observe it and the Boston Marathon is being run as we speak. For our purposes, we get morning baseball.

Today the Red Sox take on the Orioles at 11:05AM EDT. Dan Straily gets the call for Baltimore, Hector Velázquez gets the call for the Bosox. The fun part of morning baseball, though, is the lineup Boston is trotting out:

1. Dustin Pedroia (R) DH
2. Mookie Betts (R) CF
3. Mitch Moreland (L) 1B
4. J.D. Martinez (R) RF
5. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
6. Rafael Devers (L) 3B
7. Steve Pearce (R) LF
8. Blake Swihart (S) C
9. Christian Vázquez (R) 2B

Yeah, that’s catcher Christian Vázquez at second base. He has played four games at third base in the past but has never played the keystone in the big leagues. That should be fun. Steve Pearce played a couple of games in the outfield last year but this is his first action out there in 2019. Between that and J.D. Martinez getting the start in right, Mookie Betts is gonna get a lot of running in today.

Viva morning baseball.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.